Knitting is an age-old craft loved by grandmothers the world over. They spent the long winter nights tenderly knitting those wonderful jumper and cardigan creations that kept us snug and warm, not to mention the cute little booties for the new arrivals in our families.
But as clothes became cheaper, knitting – as a pastime and as an art form – became virtually redundant. However, the last decade has seen the resurgence of the craft, with a new breed of enthusiasts setting up knitting circles to share ideas and inspiration. With needles at the ready, they’re determined to breathe new life into the woolly art form.
So, what’s the attraction? Well, alongside being an eco-friendly and therapeutic hobby, knitting is a great way to produce fantastic, original designs that swap mass-produced fashion for something altogether more individual. Add to that the fact that you’ve created these masterpieces with your own fair hand and there’s rather a lot to proud of. Knitting allows you to model your personally created fashions, or give them away as uniquely personalised gifts for your friends and family.
One knitting enthusiast has combined natural energy with natural fibres to take knitting to a whole new level. Merel Karhof was committed to harnessing the natural wind energy generated in a nearby cul-de-sac, and so she created a ‘wind-knitting factory’. The contraption is essentially a hand-made windmill, attached to a loom. As the wind blows, the loom is activated, allowing the factory to quite literally ‘spin’ a wind-powered scarf.
To add the finishing touches to her tube-scarf creations, Merel added a label to each scarf which included the date the scarf was made, and the length of time it took for the wind to knit it. Her wind-factory produced a wonderfully quirky collection of scarves made entirely from renewable energy sources. Pretty impressive, hey?
Knitting it all together
In addition to the creative aspects of knitting, the creative circles and clubs which have developed in recent years are now regarded as something of a social occasion. Many of those who attend knitting circles report that they go along as much for the opportunity to meet like-minded people as they do for the tutorials on pattern or techniques. Knitting circles breed a special kind of solidarity, connecting people within a community and allowing them to share and express their personal style – while creating unusual and innovative designs. Classes are welcoming and supportive, and usually very inexpensive – all you need is a pair of needles and a ball of wool!
Many knitting circles have also developed a strong community ethos, designing and producing special items to support charities and voluntary organisations working in the local area. From warm blankets for the elderly to premature clothing or teddies for newborn babies – knitting groups have become a supplier of vital warm clothing and supplies for charities supporting the most vulnerable people.
Like it or not, knitting is back in fashion. So, it’s time to dust off your yarn, and sharpen your needles…the winter’s a-coming, and you’re going to need a wool-filled wardrobe to stay warm. So what are you waiting for? Get knitting!